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Japan Times 1918: Teacher’s house stoned after racial epithet

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Sunday, June 9 1918

Teacher’s house stoned after racial epithet

| THE JAPAN TIMES

Twenty-three students of the Odate Middle School in Akita Prefecture in northwestern Japan attacked the house of Mr. Kishida, instructor of natural history in the school, twice on the night of June 2, throwing stones and destroying the windows and paper slides of the house.

The teacher and his family, terrified at the sudden assault, ran outdoors and took refuge in a neighbor’s house. The students have been punished by suspension from school indefinitely.

A few days before this incident, the school was going to hold an athletic meet, but owing to rainfall in the facility postponed it. The students of the higher class objected and insisted on holding the meet notwithstanding the inclement weather.

The instructor reprimanded the students and went to the length of calling them the descendants of the Ainus, perhaps from theories he entertained as a scholar of natural history.

This unenviable epithet was enough to call forth the indignation of the students, who resorted to an assault in force to avenge the insult.


75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, June 10, 1943

POWs’ mutual hatred sparks fight in camp

| THE JAPAN TIMES

The Tokyo War Prisoners Camp No. 2 was the scene of a fist fight between an American private and a Dutch infantry sergeant when the supercilious contempt of the Americans for the Dutch on the one hand, and the brooding resentment of the latter against the former on the other, came to a clash which might have caused a major disturbance but for the quick interference of a Japanese sentry, it was learned yesterday.

The fight took place in the dining room and a free-for-all was barely averted by a Japanese sentry who, being drawn by the clamor, rushed into the room and separated the belligerents, John Edward Rich, an American private of the 131st Field Artillery, and Cornelis Bertsch, sergeant of the 1st Battalion Infantry, Bandoeng.

For some time past, it was disclosed, there has been a bad feeling between the American and British prisoners of war on the one hand, and the Dutch on the other. The Americans and British had a tendency to look down on the Dutch.

On March 4, as the afternoon meal was being distributed, John Rich, who was in charge of serving the Americans, approached Bertsch, and calling him a “greedy pig,” said that he was eating too much — like all Dutchmen.

On the table assigned to the Dutch prisoners were some plates of plump-looking sardines.

As Bertsch glowered at the American private, Rich stretched out a hand and, remarking that Dutchmen didn’t have to eat sardines, tried to take away one of the plates to the American side. Bertsch endeavored to prevent Rich but, failing to do so, he lashed out with his fist.

Rich retaliated in like fashion. The room was thrown into confusion and, had not the Japanese sentry rushed in instantly, a free-for-all battle might have broken out.


50 YEARS AGO
Monday, June 17, 1968

Terrorist incident on Yokosuka Line kills 1

| THE JAPAN TIMES

One person was killed and 26 others were injured in an explosion of what was believed to be a time-bomb on a moving Tokyo-bound train of the Yokosuka Line near Ofuna Station, 18 kilometers south of Yokohama.

Isamu Hiroshima, 30, from the Tokyo suburbs of Musashino died late Sunday night from brain damage. Six other persons were in serious condition.

The blast, apparently from a time-bomb left on a baggage rack, occurred as the train was pulling into Ofuna Station.

Police believed an explosive device could have been planted in the Japanese National Railways train by the same person who set off a time-bomb on the same day one year ago on a train of the private Sanyo Electric Railways in Kobe, killing two passengers and injuring 29 others. Both incidents occurred on Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June.

Fragments of a clock, a piece of steel pipe and four dry batteries were found by the police in the Yokosuka Line train’s sixth coach in which the blast was set off at 3:28 p.m.

Most of the window panes in the sixth coach were broken and several holes were made in the ceiling by the impact of the explosion. Eyewitnesses said white smoke billowed from a baggage rack, and some passengers, with blood oozing from their faces and heads, fell to the floor.

The Tokyo-bound train was only about 300 meters away from Ofuna Station when the explosion occurred. The motorman brought the train to the station and asked for ambulances. The train was knocked off schedule.


25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, June 9, 1993

Overuse of foreign words criticized

| THE JAPAN TIMES

The Japanese language faces several problems, including the excessive use of words of foreign origin, an advisory panel to the Education Ministry reported.

The issues raised in the report, written by the Council on the National Language, will be discussed in the fall.

The council said that even in written Japanese, people are using words of foreign origin — including “identity,” “restructuring,” “global” and “needs” — although the Japanese language has its own counterpart words.

It also called on government agencies to be prudent in using such terms as ODA (official development assistance) and PKO (peacekeeping operations). They should use words that are simple and easily understood, the council added.

In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 120-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.